Solid Energy has delayed its decision on whether to go ahead with re-entering the Pike River Mine drift, after consulting with families.

The company had been due to make a decision at its board meeting tomorrow.

However, it today announced the decision would be delayed.

"The board decision has been deferred to ensure the company has sufficient time to consider the feedback from experts advising the Pike River families' group.


"The company had intended to have this process completed for a board decision by the end of this month. However, the Pike River families' group has agreed that Solid Energy take a little more time.

"The board will consider the feedback provided by the families advisers received yesterday before making its decision on re-entry."

Solid Energy said it was keeping the families' group advised of progress.

West Coast-Tasman MP, Labour's Damien O'Connor, said the board's announcement was a "sensible move".

"It has been clear for some months that there is critical information the Solid Energy Board and the experts advising the families disagree on," he said.

"These issues need to be resolved before any final decision is made. I want to acknowledge the huge effort made by the families involved to get the Solid Energy Board to see sense and delay their decision."

It has been nearly four years since 29 men died in explosions in the Pike River mine.

A staged plan to re-enter the mine and explore the tunnel up to a rock fall about 2.3km in from the mine portal has been approved and the Government has committed $7.2 million to the effort.


Moving into the tunnel or drift is seen as the first step to recovering the remains of the miners.

The proposal has been beset by delays, the latest in August when Solid Energy announced "potentially fatal risks" still needed to be examined before attempting to re-enter the drift.